How to make House drums

How to make House drums

(Picture shows a completed House drum part)

Start by adding short, bright highhats: remove all unnecessary sound from the highhats (modifying their ADSR: no attack, sustain, or release; half full decay). Make a kick monophonic and equalized: use a mono EQ and cut the freq to around 300hz to remove bass noise. Lower the DB at that center/300hz point and tighten the pocket. Then process the kick with a compressor: Threshold and attack up, ratio ip,, release down, makeup up – kick sounds powerful, tight and punchy.

Add lively, not-too-bright (because not the only element in the sound) snare for off beats.

Add tams (or other, doesn’t matter what, because value is based on the position in our drums) to .3 and .4 notes of each bar.

Add open highhats with long release to spread across .3 and .4. Add these highhats at every quarternote. Maybe remove some decay and sustain, maybe add attack.

For “breathing effect” in the drums, add sidechaining (you do this with a compressor effect). Modify it to make it more hallow, louder, chimey (on the jangle part chimey, not the low part).

Add claps – light, transparent but readable, with crumble effect – in several layers on top of each other, and offset them and the snare they’re layed on top of until sounds good (sounds like they’re echoing eachother).

Add more highhats, but out of rhythm (anywhere), to add “swing” effect to drums.

Add tribal sounds (different tams to add dynamics):

Add a jungle-sounding drum loop, and add reverb to this to deepen it.


A YouTube video with a tutorial on Ableton, by XSSR Academy, which was used to make this text version of how to make House drums.

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